Never Too Advanced to Repent

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Most of us would choose to cross the street and walk on the other side of the road just to avoid him. They called him “John” which was common enough. But when people mentioned that this John was “the baptizer” the curious drew near and the cautious moved away.

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea” (Matthew 3:1).

He was a weird bird, dressed in camel’s hair and eating locusts and honey (3:4) and preaching, not from behind a pulpit, but from alongside the Jordan River.

His message was probably no more popular in that period than it is today: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matthew 3:2). In a world where the religious establishment was more concerned with peripheral and superficial, John cut right to the heart of the matter—sin.

The curious drew near, the convicted stayed to listen, the callous of heart walked away.

John was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, kinfolk of Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1), a miracle child born in his parents’ old age. He was a man bred for a specific purpose—to declare the coming of the Messiah and to get people ready to meet God in the flesh. He was a living, breathing fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3. He was “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him’” (Matthew 3:3).

Get ready. God’s coming.

How do you get ready to meet with God?

Repent.

The recognition of our sinful state and our need for forgiveness is the basis of our relationship with God. To skip this first step would be as jarring and unsatisfactory an experience as jumping out of a plane without a parachute. For those who have never confessed their sinfulness and asked Jesus to forgive their sins and restore the relationship between themselves and a holy God that sin broke, this step cannot be ignored.

Even believers sometimes skip this step. The confidence we have that the cross covered all our sins and our acceptance of Christ’s forgiveness at some moment in time was sufficient to look after all of them forever often makes us a little bit too cocky. We forget that, like Peter, we need that daily “foot-washing” even after the whole body has been washed clean once and for all (John 13:10).

Getting ready to meet God?

Whether your need is the complete cleansing of one who is coming to Him for the first time, or the foot-washing of one who has been washed cleaned once but needs a little freshening up, the formula is the same. Repent. Meet Him wrapped in His grace. The encounter will not disappoint.

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